2021 Marathon Series - LCRK Round 23 May 2021

Links to pictures, videos, full results

“OH MY GOSH WHERE DO I START” (from Jeff Hosnell)

To all Lane Cove members, family and friends, congratulations on running the best possible State Doubles Championship. To make this race a success so much happens in the planning, it's not an easy course to lay out and the members and volunteers do so much, we had so many who love racing yet they put their hands up to spend the whole day supervising and making the race safe! Thank You from all us racers.
With so many non-racing volunteers we still put on the water a staggering 25 doubles and 5 singles nearly half the entries in doubles were Lane Cove, and what an amazing result we had 12 State Champion Gold Pairings and so many Silver and Bronze will done everyone. There were so many highlights for me to write about but this time I will leave it to the racers themselves and the volunteers to tell their story.

PS: Just heard Nationals will be on the Gold Coast April 2022 imagine what Lane Cove can do there…….but that’s for the future!!!!

All the LCRK paddlers...

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From the President

What a wonderful day it was on Sunday. Sure we would have liked a few more participants but it was still the second highest attendance of 2021 marathons to date.

The commentary from participants has been 100% complimentary and while the extent of volunteering, spirit and ability to organise is not unique to our club, the friendliness and camaraderie of LCRK members is the glue that brings it all together.

LCRK club has honed its procedures since we moved the marathon from Blackmans Park and those documented processes are one of the key reasons everything runs smoothly. The other reason of course is the volunteers, many of whom have done their role before so knew exactly what to do, what to look out for, and what to improve upon. There are too many to mention however the club is indebted to them.

“Success breeds success” and that equally applies to organising an event so we will continue to improve. John Lambert’s soon-to-be-released video of each division is the latest evidence of that.

To the army of volunteers who sacrificed their day or a paddle – thank you.
To those volunteers who also paddled – thank you.
To those that paddled – thank you – the event would not be much without paddlers.
John Duffy (a very proud) President – I love youse all

Above: Some of the LCRK paddlers and volunteers - what a turn out!

Andrew Pratley (with Mario Lendvai) – Div 4

Rounding the 10km mark, we were stuck in no mans land. We could see the two skis in front of us. Despite Mario trying to paddle at cadence twice as fast as anyone else on the course, we couldn't bridge the gap.

Behind us were two doubles that were working well together. The lead double was being steered by Daniel Dalton who is unable to see. Richard Andrews was in the back giving instructions. As they came past us we didn't have the finesse and touch on steering to wash ride the boats effectively. In that moment, we were reminded of the great joy of this sport (arguably any sport). We often hope to achieve what we're capable of. The great joy is to see people achieve much more than anyone thinks they're capable of. No one I've told this story to in the days after the race can believe what I'm saying. They assume I misspoke. They ask for clarification, they express exasperation. How could someone paddle down a river, not being able to see, let alone at speed?

This is just one snippet of the vignettes of the story of Lane Cover River Kayakers I have watched from afar over the past decade. The last time I paddled at Lane Cove was in 2012. We were training for a crossing of Bass Strait, that all four of us have fond memories for (Richard Barnes, John Duffy & Peter Edney), possibly for different reasons. Each of us have followed our own path over the past decade, we were all back on Sunday. Coming back nine years later I wasn't sure what to expect. What I didn't anticipate was just how kind and generous the members were to help us out. There were so many familiar faces that it was great to see again. Stories of the Sound of Music Christmas Party brought back memories of the diverse and wonderful people that make up this club.

On Saturday night we'd given up coming along when the boat we were trying to borrow fell through. A club with less ambition and vision thought it was more important to lock up the gear than be out paddling. In a short period of time we had multiple offers of gear. Jeff Hosnell packed a couple of extra boats just in case we needed them. The LCRK Pope was fast, stable and great fun. A timely reminder that whilst modern gear is nice, just being out on the water is more important than what you're in.

I've spent the past year getting back into endurance kayaking, regularly paddling 30-40km on a Thursday out through the heads turning north or south and finding a beach to land at. I've seen a whale at the heads, an enormous seal on a buoy and a guy paddling with a curtain rod as the shaft of his paddle. All of these moments were special, all of them captured the variety of experiences we can have. Racing on Sunday was another one of these moments. I look forward to paddling with as many people who are up for a doubles partner.

Above: Andrew and Mario approach bottom turn Photo: Ian Wrenford

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Richard Andrews (with Daniel Dalton) – Div 4

[Ed: Just as an intro. Daniel is blind – but that doesn’t hold him back from anything. This was his first Marathon Series race, longest ever paddle (20km), and he and Richard are so keen to do more races. And Richard deserves special recognition as one of Daniels most regular doubles partners. There’s a small group of club members who paddle with Daniel for the TT’s and all come away with more ‘wow’. Why don’t you give it a go too?]

We got off to a pretty good start, landing in the middle of the pack as we went round the first turn. This was a new experience for us, being in a close group of eight boats travelling at the same pace. After a short push, we settled into third in the pack, riding alongside another double. Daniel quickly responded to the small adjustments to the steering to allow us to sit comfortably in the side wash. Only one paddle clash with the neighbouring boat was good going. The left side wash position did end up with us being squeezed on a left turn and forced back into fourth position as we made our way down to Fig Tree Bridge. A wide turn at the bridge and a line through shallow water dropped us back to sixth and we fell off the back of the pack as we approached the bottom turn.

The 20km distance was new to us, but the clear water did allow Daniel to set our pace and settle us into our own rhythm. As we passed back under the bridge and back into a more familiar part of the river, we focussed on closing the gap between us and the other boats. Our steady pace resulted in us catching and passing the fifth place boat by the narrows and continuing to reel in the leading boats. The run in and out of the top turn gave us a boost with the fellow club paddles giving us a cheer as they passed in the opposite direction.

Holding our pace on the start of our second lap, we closed the gap to the next boat and slid past and into fourth place. Digging in, we pulled past third place as we took to the turn to head down towards the Mud Flats. The boat we passed locked onto our wake and we could feel the constant pressure if we dropped the pace. I took a poor choice of line from Fig Tree Bridge to the bottom turn through shallow water, which slowed the boat and amplified the waves from a passing motor boat. The boat on our tail took advantage of this as well as a good line through the bottom turn to pull ahead of us. Lifting as we came out of the turn, we quickly took back third place and pushed to make sure we held on to it.

For the run back up to Epping Bridge we had a boat on our tail, keeping us honest the whole way to the finish line. We were both really pleased with our paddle and already thinking about what we can work on next time. The highlight was the teamwork to control the boat in congested pack and we are keen to get back in the mix in the next race.

Above: Richard & Daniel Photo: Tom Holloway

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Jeff Hosnell - the view from behind Tim Binns

Last December I was doing one of Kieran’s Saturday doubles training paddles, I had no one to paddle with on Doubles night, Tim was paddling with John D and I asked John if he wanted to paddle with me he said no way in my k2, Tim said he would I was shocked, since then its been a great experience for me and look where it’s taken us Gold Medal State Champions and a 5’s second in Div 2.

I have been worried about letting Tim down over 20kms but we paddled a great race except for the start I knew something was wrong but didn’t know tell after and seeing the video, we start on the left Tim started on the right we were slow and messy! Daniela and Laura got off to a rocket start for 1km it was hard to stay with them and I thought how can I paddle at this rate then they slowed it down and Tim took over wash riding the Central Coast boat for 19kms it was amazing so fast and we worked with these guys and they were great giving us plenty of room around the buoys we were always on the inside this didn’t work out right for the finish they were on the inside for the turn to the finish line and we couldn’t get round them but they deserved the win. I now realise how important it is to wash ride, so this is my target in life to be good at it in my k1.

I must mention about our other Gold Medal duo in Div 2 the pairing of Michael Lieberman and Karen Hadjinicola now Michael has only just moved up to Div 3 and Karen races in Div 6 so for them to race in Div 2 was going to be hard but they did really well and never gave up coming in only 7mins behind the winners, but picking up a Gold Mixed Double Medal.

Jeff Hosnell and Tim Binns - head down! (photo: Ian Wrenford)

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Darren Williams (with Craig Salkeld) - Div 4

As you would know last Sunday saw Race 6 of the Marathon Series that was also the State Doubles Championships held at Lane Cove. I’ve been slowly drawn into the marathon series this year and have found the mix of social camaraderie and competitive paddling a heap of fun. Especially when the day is so well run! A testament to everyone in the club that put in the many hours of planning and also time on the day. A huge thanks to you all.

When I say I’ve been drawn into some of the marathon series races I mean coerced by Trevor Nichols. This included Trevor offering myself and Craig Salkeld his shiny new Epic V8 Double for Sunday’s race. A very generous offer that Craig and I jumped on and into. Having tried to sign-up in Div 5 and being rightly bumped into Div 4 Craig and I were a little nervous as we waited on the start line in almost perfect conditions. Once the ‘go’ was given Craig and I managed to stay close to the rest of the paddlers and settled into a good rhythm, getting a nice wash ride from Duncan Johnstone and Craig Ellis. The V8 is a great ski and can turn on a dime, this coupled with Craig’s propensity to shovel huge chunks of the river to turn the boat quickly allowed us to pull ahead of the others at the top mark and from there it was a game of avoiding the shallows the best we could and encouraging each other through the inevitable flat spots.

Amazingly we managed to cross the line first with just about nothing left. If we’d had to do an extra 5km like the fast crews I’m sure we would have been a lot slower. Again the help to get the boats of the water, washed down and then have a hot shower, followed by a great BBQ was fantastic.

Massive congratulations to the club for running such a great event.

Craig Salkeld and Darren on return leg to Fig Tree Bridge (photo: Tom Holloway)

Anjie Lees (Thomas Hammond) - Div 12

Well, Dave Hammond normally encourages his family along to the LCRK Doubles Marathon. Dave paddles with his daughter Areti and Tommy paddles with his mum Maria. Maria is also a keen paddler of the OC Dragon boat variety and has been out with an injury. I paddled the 2019 round with my Nephew Jacob who is now working part time. So Dave asked if I wasn't paddling with Jacob would I paddle with Tommy? So that is what happened.

Dave did an awesome job on the motivation for the kids with jelly snakes stuck to the decks of both boats and each with 2 water guns. We started the race and I actually thought Dave was right behind us, but it was actually someone else - so we went around the bottom turn and I said to Tommy to get the (water) guns out as we went close to Dave and Areti as they were going into the turn - that was really our only opportunity to use the artillery provided except at the finish line.

Tommy put in a really big effort all the way round only stopping momentarily to consume a snake for some additional energy. Tommy also did a really good job of keeping time.

Dave has since said Tommy is looking forward to having a go at the Narrabeen marathon maybe with a friend. This is the real goal...

Above: Tommy and Anjie - on task! Photo: Tom Holloway

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Peter Fitzgerald (Trevor Nichols) - Div 1

Nice day for a paddle. Lots of chat and banter about “portage or not” for Div 1 double skis…
Team decision made, no portage for us.
Warm up - Trev “need to go to bank to pull up my shorts”
Jumps out on mud, hoists em up. Off we go.
Trev: “I have no right steering”
Fitz: “what does that mean”
Trev: “I have no steering”
We zig zag all over river trying to get back to pontoon reckon 500m took us 5 minutes.
It’s all about resolve – we would paddle somehow.
So I did my version of portage – hobbling to car for surf rudder/spanner [Fitz doesn’t run].
Off we go in time for Div. 8 start.
Was fun chatting/overtaking the various divisions, and as it was 25 km the last lonely 5 km loop I think most competitors finished their sausages, cakes and coffees and had gone home so we cruised.
We retrieved shaft from pontoon and gave it to James - we noted it wasn’t broken.\\ So I went down to pontoon where Ian took me in the safety boat back to the sand bar and there it was right where it fell off on the mud! Not broken, seems the glue just wore out!
We finished and I have the rudder being re-glued – could’ve been much worse if it fell mid event!
As we say: “Every paddle is a good paddle !”

Fitzy and Trev - steering OK? (photo: Ian Wrenford)

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Dmytro Medveyev (with James Pralija) Div 1

Lane Cove hosted a double marathon championship this year and it's been great to race again here, on my new club home grounds. There were a number of good paddlers in Div1, but having partnered with James Pralija, who have been paddling super strong recently, we considered our main competition to be our team-mates Brett Greenwood and James Harrington . Even though they looked a bit stronger on the cards, we were hoping to put up a good fight in this race.

We started firm, cruising close to 15 km/hour with a help of outgoing tide and sharing leads between two of our boats, and having Jason Ware and Mitch Coffey in the double ski and Casey Haynes in a single K1 on our wash. First few kilometres went uneventfully, and then there was a first portage. We had this extremely simple race plan in mind - "just don't do anything stupid", but it went into pieces on that portage. As we found out there was a deep hole close to the entry and submerged rock at the exit. Somehow we managed to put ourselves in trouble on both ends.

A lot of times races are decided well before the finish sprint, and unfortunately this was such a moment for us. We came to the portage alongside with the leading double, and as we finally exited from it, we were behind everyone from the front pack and 200 meters behind Brett and James. I was anxious to get back to the race and it affected the quality of my paddling - I was burning way too much energy, yet the boat was not moving as smoothly. It took us a few kilometres to finally get Jason and Mitch, and just a bit longer to catch Casey, who paddled very strongly alongside with the faster double crews for most of the race.

From my own experience, after being dropped by the front guys, there is no coming back, but James would probably disagree with that, pushing me and himself hard to chase the leading double. And after some time I realized that we're actually making some ground on them. We executed the second portage much better, and must have dropped Jason and Mitch, who had to carry a larger and heavier boat, as I did not see them on our wash anymore. Coming to the top buoy at the end of the second 10-km lap we were only within 30 seconds beyond Brett and James. They must have realized that we're coming for them, and I guess they decided to put more effort in their work to maintain a comfortable lead rather than battle it out with us in a final sprint.

It was 5 km to go, but no matter how hard we tried, that was as close as we got to them. At the end, we finished 27 seconds behind. A great result all things considered, but with a slight hint of disappointment that we did not manage to fight for the top spot in the final sprint - even though I'm not sure I had much left in me for it at the end of the race. Congratulations to Brett and James for the well-deserved win, and to the rest of the team for the great racing. Big thank you to my partner James Pralija for a great race and for keeping me upright and focused.

Dmytro and James approaching portage (Photo: Tom Holloway)

Brett Greenwood (with James Harrington) - Div 1

Over the last few years, I have raced in every marathon venue in the PNSW marathon Series, raced in every state in Australia and been to and raced in 10 different countries. However there hasn’t been an event where I have felt this strange positive vibe as there was at the NSW State Doubles Championships run by Lane Cove River Kayakers this past weekend. From the helpers in the car park to the team in the canteen and the water safety crew; everyone was SO helpful and there was SO many helpers! This vibe flowed onto the water with everyone in my start (Div 1) chatting and talking amongst each other as we floated up to the start line, but this didn’t mean it wasn’t a race!

The starter yelled “GO” and it was on. A front pack formed quickly including James Harrington and myself (K2), Dmitry Medvedyev and James Pralija (K2), Mitch Coffey and Jason Ware (SS2) and Casey Haynes going solo in his K1. The two K2’s took turns taking the lead, rolling it over every kilometer and held the pace in the 14-15km/hr range. I was very impressed to see Casey hanging on in his k1 and really working around the pack to get a good wash.

At 6km into the race it was time to do our 1st portage. I took the lead and headed into the sand bar at about 15km/hr. None of us got the opportunity to practice the portage before the race so we all hit the sand blindly. We were caught unawares of a deep channel at the start of the portage and thick boggy sand to run through, but all things considered James and I navigated it perfectly and managed to get back in with only Casey beside us. I had expected all the doubles would work hard to catch back up so our plan was to just keep up the pace so they would need to burn some energy to catch us.

By the finish of the first 10km loop we were still alone with just Casey. Our team mates in the other K2 had not caught up, and I heard later that they had had some trouble in the portage. It was at this time we decided to increase our speed and for the rest of the race we paddled alone. This is a hard way to race as you get no time to rest on a wash. My K2 Partner James Harrington was faultless, never missing a beat and staying strong and completely committed until the finish line.

We held an average speed of 13.7km/hr maxing out at 18.1km/hr. I had an average heart rate of 165bpm and maxed at 181bpm. We finished the 25km in 1:49:50 with Dmitry and James never giving up the chase and managing to take the silver only 27 seconds behind.

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Wade Rowston – Portage

This year thanks to the very low tide, timed perfectly for mid race, we were able to set up a portage approximately 120m long. The newly painted gate signs must have stood out like beacons because most of Div 1 made a beeline directly from the point to the gate and missed the hazard buoys that would have kept them in the middle of the river, away from the shallows until about 100 metres from the gate.

That was not a problem, except some arrived at the gate slightly on the city side, which was not anticipated, and stepped into a particularly muddy patch on the sandbank and a number of paddlers slipped over. Not thinking they would possibly land at that point I had not checked that part of the sandbank. Noted for next time. Anyway once the first lap was completed I then moved the gate 30m towards the bridge and all went well.

Nice portaging by most teams but obviously a little more difficult coordinating 2 paddlers. For skis, a portage is challenging and not possible at all to go about it gracefully. Special mention to Alison Bilbow and David Young in Div 3 for optionally taking on the portage and Ruby and Caoimhin Ardren for doing the portage just to say gidday! Thanks to Tom Holloway for the great photos from the portage sandbank and helping to pack up. The tide was so low that Tom was able to walk back to the Linley Point carpark.

Ruby & Caoimhin Ardren - Div 4

The LCRK marathon wasn't really on the radar until Jeff contacted us and asked us to enter together as a double. Caoimhin and I thought it would be a great chance to catch up with everyone, despite not having entered a race for over a year and our training consisting of bashing an inflatable raft down whitewater rapids. The day was a comedy of errors, so it was lucky that we weren't set on winning (or finishing)!

I didn't read the race briefing until we were having breakfast at 8.30am, when I realised that the race was an hour earlier than they had used to be and we weren't going to make it on time. We madly rushed around, got the double ski out of hibernation and onto the car, and raced to Lane Cove, only to realise that we hadn't packed Caoimhin's bucket with his paddle and gear. We arrived just as Division 12 was departing for the water (we were Division 4 - also laughable) and John Duffy came to our rescue, providing Caoimhin with a PFD and paddle.

I've spent the last few weeks complaining about how much stuff Caoimhin has in the car, but it came in handy on this occasion because he had boardies and a rashie to throw on. Suitably dressed we headed to the river, with John following up by warning the starters that we were on our way (after all other paddlers had started). We sailed through the start with a smile and were on our way. It was quite clear by only a few kilometres in that we wouldn't be able to do two laps for our 20km, as we were well behind the boats that would finish last, so we settled in to enjoy our single lap. I had promised Caoimhin a view of the Harbour Bridge, and he got it.

I asked Ian to photoshop us into the photo that showed the rest of Division 4 passing the bottom turn, then we pulled into the sandbank for a voluntary portage so we could say hello to Wade and Tom. We arrived back at the 'finish' feeling much fresher than was likely after 20km and called it quits (for the timekeepers sake of course). We had a fun time, failed to register a ranking time, didn't get wet, and got to catch up with lots of old friends. Great event!

Ruby and Caoimhin - the obligatory Harbour Bridge shot Photo: Ian Wrenford

John Lambert - Safety Yak

So... Where to begin…?

At 53 years young, it’s my first Marathon Kayaking event, so I literally had no idea what to expect. I was staying at my partner’s house in the Blue Mountains, supporting her in her recovery from back surgery, so the first goal was to get up at an ungodly hour to get to Mowbray Road.

A call from Graeme Jeffries as I was getting ready to leave from my flat in one of the monoliths up the hill for the race venue pointed out that I needed to park on the OTHER side of the river, which saved me quite a bit of wasted time! By this time I was cutting it a bit close to the 0800 kick off time, so a quick jog across the bridge, meeting one of the timekeepers on the way, got me there at 0745.

I was blown away at how much had already been done at the site – marshalling zones for each division on the grass (already filling with boats), coffee cart going full steam, even APS there doing brisk business, and of course the vast catering setup under the shelter. And that was just what was happening on dry ground! I felt SO lazy turning up when I did.

Quick introductions to Graeme and the “yak” – sadly I was so slow Graeme had to point out that yak was derived from kayak, as in half of one lol, but it was a solid base to work from – not even I could tip it over! Tough to get leg drive in, I will say that!

A power boat conveniently turned up as we were debating the best way to load the finish line buoys plus ropes and weights into the yak, and Graeme quickly “commandeered” a ride to set up those, which meant I had a bit more time to complete my caffeination process.

After collecting some divine looking lunches and checking with the boss, off we went to Sugarloaf Point, initially under paddle power, but soon Mike and Merry turned up and gave us a tow – which was fine until the yak decided to take a hard left for no apparent reason and I let go of the rope instead of allowing a nose dive to give us an early bath from the IRB wash…

A short paddle later we arrived at Sugarloaf Beach, complete with milk crate seats and the yak ready for action.

Graeme and I were engaged in a wide ranging conversation when the first kayak arrived, and for some reason that triggered an idea that I should film the kayaks as they came by. It was such a glorious, calm day, we didn’t expect that tooooo much rescuing would be required of us, and the vantage point was sublime with great views up and down river, given that it was low tide and we could walk out into the river well past the tree line.

I then spent the next 2.5 hours holding my arms up with an iPhone XS Max in them (quite an interesting isometric exercise if you ever want to try it lol), filming literally every boat that passed us, and wow – what an educational experience that was, with a running commentary from behind my right shoulder, me peppering GJ with questions about the forms and boats on display…. I must say watching the smooth power, style and speed of the Div 1 boats was quite a thrill, and gives me something to dream about! There wasn’t a Division 99 so I had nothing really to use to see my own paddling style in action!

The closest thing to a rescue was an incident involving Kayak 107, with Matilda and Kolya from Burley Griffin – and so awesome that they made the trip up here!

I have to roll back a few minutes first though to a conversation I had with Graeme about a certain log that we could see in the crystal clear water between the channel marker and the beach. It was JUST under the water at low tide, and I felt it would be good to try to remove it. GJ correctly assessed that it would be too heavy to move, and he was absolutely right, although I did give it a go! In any case we both decided it was between the navigation pole and the beach, which was taped off with hazard tape, so definitely not likely to be an issue today… or so we thought… now, fast forward to about 15 minutes after this conversation…

107 had to pull into the beach on their second 10km return leg so Kolya could manage some cramping, which he did quickly, and then of course they launched quickly to get back into the race. Unfortunately, before we could say anything, they shot between the channel marker and the beach in order to get back into the main stream, staying left to keep away from a very fast 100 boat heading downriver on their 5km leg.

A loud THUNK as they passed in front of my videoing position made my heart sink, and GJ and I watched with concern as they made their way in a very odd fashion to the Blackman Park side of the river.

They pulled into the bank, and spent a lot of time looking at the rudder, and GJ correctly surmised that the impact had done something to their rudder. We were about to get in the yak to rescue them, when they managed to head upstream again, but the boat didn’t look like it was behaving, and coupled with the fact that the stops couldn’t have helped Kolya’s cramping, it was not a complete surprise to hear that they ended up with a swim and a DNF. Hope they are OK now though.

I did manage to wade out and get a close look at the log they hit, and the photo below right shows the impact clearly, with a blade like slice in the bark from the rudder, and a lovely blue paint mark from the hull… ouch!

What was fascinating was that a few minutes after all this, the “injury” to the log was surrounded by the puffer fish that inhabit the river (photo insert) taken from pontoon a few days after the floods) – maybe some nutrients were exposed in the cut?

After the last kayak passed heading upstream on the 5km leg of the 25km Div 1 race (they shall remain nameless but forever recorded in the Div 1 video), complete with a healthy dose of sledging from GJ, we packed up and got ready to paddle home.

The paddle home was a wonderful bit of exercise, and GJ never said anything about my style, so he is clearly the epitomy of a perfect gentleman. I also want to call out the sandwich making team who made one of the most delicious lunches I have ever eaten!

Once we arrived back at the pontoon, the yak was taken care of, but there was plenty of work still to be done carrying buoy weights back to the shed, plus a tonne of other safety boat paraphernalia, and generally trying to make myself useful.

Honestly a superb day, perfect weather, great company, and the satisfaction of a job well done as part of an amazing well oiled, experienced machine! And much as I’d love to be in one of the boats, next year I hope to bring a PROPER video camera to Sugarloaf Point, crossing my fingers it is low tide again, and get some really GOOD footage of you all!

John Lambert and Graeme Jeffries at Sugarloaf - Photo: Ian Hofstetter

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James Farrell (with Jeff Collins) – Div 8

From the front seat. The newly formed Collins/Farrell team in Div 8: This was a close run race. The field became crowded as we narrowed together on the start line. We had managed to carefully position ourselves next to the Green Speed Machine from Burley Griffin on our right - hoping to get a ride.

Unfortunately as the gun went off we got too close to the Mirage on our left. Whilst we narrowly avoided a misstep, we also avoided our ride. All was not lost, we did manage to get a good start and got away from Don and Harry. We had a clear run all the way to the bottom turn, and felt comfortable consolidating our place in second position.

It wasn't until we got back up to the Epping bridge for the 10km turn that we realised Don and Harry were closing. At the 5km turn they were very close. We dug deep for the last home stretch ... Jeff creating focus for each stroke "make it count", and "concentrate on power", "each stroke counts". No time to see how close they really were. Finally, wWe rounded the corner, staring down at the finish line, pushing hard, accelerating into the last 50m ... we made it!

James and Jeff on approach to bottom turn - Photo Ian Wrenford

Harry Janecek (Don Johnstone) Div 4

So I was asked to write a passage about a rite of passage.

It’s not always I partake of a marathon series race, heck, this was my first, what could I say at the time. On that Sunday morning just arriving at the pontoon from upstream launch, it wasn't coming last that was on my mind, nor was it the risk of falling in, but just looking for the right place to sign in. And that was easier said than done, walking up the light of stone stairs, that what I saw was a Lane Cove Athletics Field busier than ever, boasting a fleet of eighty five strong boats.

"Hey Don, I just realised, we have no tip-out plan"

On the water however, it was a different world all together, every minute felt life an hour before lift-off. Slowly but surely the time came, and Don and I were almost a single entity altogether, focused, driven and determined. Facing almost no obstacle - aside from a stray power boat just passed Figtree bridge, that almost gave us cause to enact our impromptu tip-out plan. However, we were still standing - well, sitting, but we were upright. That was the worst of it, with the mechanised vermin gone, out great pilgrimage continued for another hour or so until we reached full circle.

With the last local series behind me, I gotta get me some roof racks

Don and Harry - Photo Tom Holloway

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Ian Wrenford – Safety Boats

I’ve never actually paddled the LCRK marathon – but have been on Safety Boats every year since 2014. Apart from having a great team, there’s some simple ingredients to making it a pleasant experience:
#1 No rain. Rain = wet. Wet = cold + miserable.
#2 No wind. Wind = waves. Waves = work (ie rescues).
#3 No traffic. Traffic = waves. Waves = see above
#4 Mostly sunny. Sun = warmth. Sun = nice pix.\\

This year was pretty much perfect – although the sun was a bit patchy and the bottom turn photos weren’t as good as they can be.

Safety Boats always needs advance planning – with buoys, boats, ropes, weights, boat crews all sorted out in the days before the race. The idea is to arrive at the boat ramp (by 6am) with the boats launched and off to lay the course by 6:30am. The earlier race start this year (9:30am Div 7) meant we had no time to faff around – needing to have the course laid and be at the pontoon by 8:45am (the penalty for being late is forfeited bacon & egg rolls/coffee/toilet break).

The Safety Boating itself was easy this year (see #1, #2, #3, #4 above) with only a couple of rescues – and a great team. Post race, it was a matter of retrieving the course – a mere 45 buoys. Then unloading them all at the pontoon, returning 5km to the boat ramp, retrieving boats, bringing them back to shed, reloading with PNSW kit, and sending them off with BWP for their event this weekend. Phew!

Big thanks to Oscar Cahill, Peter Harris and Tom Simmat (Safety Boat 1). Graeme Jeffries/John Lambert

Thank you John Duffy – Event Organiser

Afterwards... Photo: Jana Osvald

Well – he’s not going to thank himself is he? But he should!

John had been busy for quite some weeks in advance dotting I’s, crossing t’s on a myriad of things. Yes there was a team supportinh, but there needs to be a Leader – and that was John..

On the day, John was on site from around 5:45am and was a whirlwind pretty much the whole day, eye on the ball, loudhailer in hand. He was so busy, that out of the 700+ photos published from the day – there’s only a couple of John – and only one of him without a pensive expression (taken after the finish by Jana!).

When you see him next - please thank John personally.

Marathon Series Results for LCRK Round

Above: Marathon Series Results for LCRK paddlers and regular TTers

State Doubles Results

Above: State Doubles Results for LCRK paddlers and regular TTers

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Marathon Series - Points progression

...after LCRK Round

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There's SO many great pictures in the LCRK Flickr Album. We had photographers covering most of the course including Jana Osvald – LCRK shed, surrounds & finish, Oscar Cahill (Safety Boat) – start, top turn, finish, Tom Holloway – LCRK shed and portage area, Alanna Ewin - Starts, Duncan Johnston – LCRK shed & starts, Orlando Luminere – LCRK shed and starts, Mike Thom (Safety Boat) – mid course, Ian Wrenford (Safety Boat) – bottom turn. A small selection below - link to full Flickr album is at the top of this page

Above: Valet parking team at the read (Photo: Orlando Luminere)

Above:Mike Thom & Merry Sugiarto setting hazard tape at Sugarloaf (Photo: Ian Wrenford)

Above:The Pontoonists (Photo: Oscar Cahill)

Above:Graeme Jeffries/John Lambert washriding into position (Photo: Mike Thom)

Above:LCRK Cafe - Laura, Alanna, Jessica, Liz, Lesley (Photo: Jana Osvald)

Above:Div 1 Start (Photo: Alanna Ewin)

Above: Anjie Lees and Thomas Hammond (photo: Tom Holloway)

Above: Naomi and Catherine - looking like fun! (photo: Tom Holloway)

Pete Manley and Kieran Babich - check out those venturis! (photo: Tom Holloway)